I know this blog is called 52 Weeks, 52 Couches – but now it’s time for 52 Weeks, 52 Couch-surfers!
As a lot of you know, I now have a place to call my own – with my boyfriend, that is. We picked and chose an adorable duplex together, centrally located near Hollywood. And… we have two couches and a great air mattress!
We’re trying to host couch-surfers and friends as much as possible. And ever since the NPR article came out, we’ve been getting a ton of requests and we’re constantly updating our Couch Calendar! Are you next?
A very good friend who loaned me his couch several times in the last decade starts staying with us tonight!
After four years of being a guest on couches all over L.A., here’s a few tips if you’re going to host a guest:
1) Make sure they’re comfortable – have enough (clean) blankets, (clean/stain-free) towels, toiletries, a sleep/eye mask (if you don’t yet have curtains), ear plugs, etc. Pretend you’re a concierge (or housekeeper) at a high-end hotel and think of every possible thing you’d love as a guest (within reason!). Then prepare those things for your couch-surfer… Is the food stocked? Do they know where to find extra blankets? The thermostat? Light switches? Toilet paper? (A couple couches of mine had run out, and one couch host offered me crumpled Starbucks napkins from his pocket! Don’t let that happen to your guest!)
Here’s some starter toiletries we give (in addition to showing them our linen closet with more!):
2) Make sure you give them a key – and an Internet password – over half the couches I surfed had forgotten their WiFi passwords (which I grew to love after a while, but it’s still nice to have the option to be online). (If you are paranoid about giving it out, you can always create a guest account, change the password after they leave, or sign in for them!)
3) Make sure they don’t stay too long – which is obviously your call, but my couch-surfing research showed that 3-5 nights is optimal. Of course, I know this may vary based on your circumstances and theirs. If you want to keep them at your place for more than a week, I suggest breaking the time up a bit and have them stay elsewhere a few nights, too.
4) Make dinner/meals together – at least one. No, I don’t mean go out to dinner. I mean make dinner. Figure out an easy menu and create a meal together, talk and leave cell phones in another room. (A friend of mine once created a Cell Phone Valet at a birthday party – coolest thing ever! I personally try not to look at my phone once I get home from work, and I suggest this to all of you, too!) Talk to each other, not your phones!
5) Have fun – you never know when/if this friend will ever sleep over again, so be present and enjoy the moment(s). But take a hint if your guest needs some alone time or wants to get to bed!
Have any couch hosting or surfing stories to share? Feel free to do so in the comments!